SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — As if celebrating Halloween on a Saturday night was a big enough treat already, NASA officials say that a dead asteroid zipping past Earth will be donning a skull costume.
But don’t worry, our planet is safe. The haunted rock, dubbed Asteroid 2015 TB145, will be about 302,000 miles away.
“Scientists observing asteroid 2015 TB145 with NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, have determined that the celestial object is more than likely a dead comet that has shed its volatiles after numerous passes around the sun,” NASA wrote on its web site.
NASA published radar images of the dead comet that were recently snapped by the National Science Foundation’s 1,000-foot Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The object is spherical in shape and approximately 2,000 feet in diameter and completes a rotation about once every five hours, according to NASA.
Trick-or-treaters with small telescopes may be able to spot the dead rock’s frightby near the constellation Ursa Major — just look for the object with the “eerie resemblance to a skull.”
“The close approach of 2015 TB145 at about 1.3 times the distance of the moon’s orbit, coupled with its size, suggests it will be one of the best asteroids for radar imaging we’ll see for several years,” said Lance Benner, of JPL, who leads NASA’s asteroid radar research program.